Donald Trump on Wednesday refused to say he would accept the result of next month’s presidential election.
“I will look at it at the time,” Trump said when challenged during the final presidential debate on his claims that the election is “rigged” against him.
He added: “I will keep you in suspense.”
The comments at the Las Vegas showdown marked an extraordinary departure from one of the most fundamental principles of American democracy: the peaceful transfer of power after an election. They exposed a divide with Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, who told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer before the debate “we’ll certainly accept the outcome of this election.”
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee who is leading Trump in most polls, said the Republican nominee’s remarks were “horrifying.”
“You are not up to doing the job,” Clinton charged, claiming that every time events do not turn out in his favor, Trump claimed things were “rigged” against him. She highlighted Trump’s past comments lamenting results of the Iowa caucuses, legal judgments against him — even Trump’s complaints when he did not win an Emmy.
Trump’s comments on the election outcome could doom his chance to win over any remaining undecided voters. The Republican nominee, down eight points in the latest CNN Poll of Polls, is almost out of time to launch what would be one of the most remarkable comebacks of modern times. A new edition of the CNN Electoral Map on Wednesday moved two key swing states, Florida and Nevada, to “lean Democrat.” Two states that have voted almost exclusively Republican for decades, Utah and Arizona, are now considered battlegrounds.